Access Is Denied Error Message When You Try To Delete A File/Folder

by [Published on 7 Jan. 2009 / Last Updated on 23 Sept. 2008]

This article explains how you can use Process Explorer, a tool from Sysinternals (now subsidiary of Microsoft), to kill the lock on files and folders.

You will get "Access Is Denied" error message when you try to delete a file or folder. This happens when file or folder is being used by processes running in the system and you do not know which process it is!

Windows doesn't ship with any tool that can be used to find out which process is locking up the file or folder. You need to use Process Explorer tool to find the lock on the file and then kill the lock so that you can delete the file and folder.


  • Download Process Explorer at here (
  • Note the file name or folder you're trying to delete 
  • Run Process Explorer > Find > Find Handle > Enter the file or folder name in "Handle or DLL Substring" Dialogue box
  • Click on Search
  • Right Click on the handle and then click "Close Handle" > Press Yes when promoted.

Now you can successfully delete the file or folder you are trying to delete.

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